coaching millennials

Coaching Millennials – How to Meet their Needs re Feedback

Working with Millennials Can Be a Challenge

For baby boomers, working with millennials can be a challenge. Boomers (born 1946-1964) often supervise millennials (born 1946-1964) in today’s workforce.   Being from a different generation, boomers sometimes find it challenging relating to–let alone coaching–millennials. For instance, boomers have high loyalty to their companies, and are apt to stay at one company most or all of their career. Millennials, by contrast, tend to be loyal to what they are working on, and are more apt to bounce from one place to another. In this case study, you’ll learn actionable suggestions for coaching millennials.

The Situation

Frank is the 55-year-old vice-president of an accounting and bookkeeping firm. In recent  years, he has seen a technology revolution transform his industry.

To keep up with competition, Frank’s company has rapidly expanded its capabilities for working with virtual tools in new accounting platforms. This has meant hiring a group of technology millennials, almost all at the same time.

Constant Feedback

Frank manages the millennials.  To his credit, he is aware that his own generation’s work expectations and outlook are much different from millennials’. For instance, he understands that in general, millennials appreciate and look forward to frequent feedback.

How to Communicate with Millennials?

Frank must find a way to accommodate employee expectations while working within his time constraints and finite resources. Which of the following strategies makes the most sense for communicating with and coaching millennials?

Your Choices:

Click the best answer below. Our answer will then highlight with an explanation below.
A. Provide daily feedback to millennials via text or e-mail.

 No, please try again.

B. Maintain a standard review schedule, but with more individualized, extensive feedback.

 No, please try again.

C. Give more frequent feedback, with more individualized, specific content.

Coaching Millennials

Granted, millennials expect more frequent performance feedback than just the traditional annual review.  However, this doesn’t mean managers must treat it as a lengthy, daily “hand-holding.”

True, managers like Frank may have to find some additional time for giving feedback.  However, with practice, they can become more efficient at providing it. Feedback can turn into a habitual reflex that pays worthwhile dividends. And by the way, wouldn’t all employees benefit from their bosses establishing frequent, effective feedback loops?

With that in mind, we can respond to the choices regarding coaching millennials:

Constant Feedback

Choice A amounts to sending out what feels like a daily, form-letter response.  Sadly, this seems more like lip service than meaningful feedback. So, while it qualifies as frequent, it ignores individuality and won’t feel very satisfying.

Millennials Generally Prefer More Frequent Feedback

Choice B denies the premise that millennials want more frequent feedback than boomers. So when coaching millennials, your standard quarterly or annual review schedule likely needs more frequency. How can Frank accomplish this in a judicious, individualized, and effective way?

Make Your Feedback Frequent and Individualized

With choice C, the idea is to balance the stepped-up frequency with useful content. Keep in mind:

  • Don’t put all millennials into a single group when devising an approach. It’s all about individualizing for each person.  Do whatever is timely and appropriate for each employee’s specific circumstances.
  • No matter how much employees desire frequent feedback, the actual words make all the difference. Be clear as to where people stand and how they’re doing.
  • Feedback is only half of the equation. Talking through next steps and following up with the person is what will make your feedback powerful.

Now That You Have Coaching Millennials Down…

Now that you have mastered coaching millennials, what is next in your leadership development?

If you have millennials you’d like to lead as effectively as you can, our Q4 Leadership Workshop may be very helpful. Available live or virtual, participants bring in a real life case in which they’ve had trouble making headway. They receive coaching, try out new strategies, and typically report substantial progress after the workshop.

Our Do You Work with a Difficult Person Behavioral Questionnaire provides actionable suggestions for a challenging person you are be dealing with.

If you liked this post on coaching millennials, we have 40 other tips on how to deal with challenging people situations.

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